Politics & Religion – blurred lines?

What is the difference between religion and politics? Before, I have arrogantly called them “separate” but “intertwined” without caring to give a reason for my opinion. But what are they, and how do you succeed to divide the two? I’ll admit if I knew all the answers to that I would be a lot wiser. So these are just some quick thoughts I’ve made on the issue.

How to define religion? If you define it too narrowly, you exclude some that we suspect are religions. Yet if you define it too broadly, you include some that we suspect are not (like ideologies and philosophies). I suppose we all have our own ideas as to what religion really is, so I’ll leave it at that. Politics however can be more easily defined as a process where groups of people make collective decisions.

Spiritual and mundane matters seem to run into each other fairly frequently. When political decisions are made where moral issues have to be considered, religion often comes into the picture. Even within religious groups political decisions will sometimes have to be made. Organized religions may wield significant political power. The Pope may have been the most powerful political figure in Europe during the Middle Ages. Today the War on Terrorism is inaccurately viewed by many as though it was a religious war between Christianity and Islam.

I can’t seem to explain it well, but there is a reason why I think we ought to at least try to separate religion from politics. Personally, I think it is absurd to, for instance, try to draw a line between things like a “free market” and “Christian values”. How do these have anything to do with each other? Another thing is how the West automatically leaps in support of the non-religious political faction in countries like Egypt even if it is rotten. The only reason we do this seems to be because we have already automatically assumed that the Muslim alternative must be even worse. I think that this has been done many times, maybe without even considering the actual political differences. Not only is it hypocritically un-democratic, but I think it highlights a lot of misguided prejudices. For instance, we think that “secular” must always be more gender equal than Islam, and we also tend to think that Islam is less compatible with democracy than Christianity. But why should it be?

Though I don’t think I’ve exactly managed to illuminate the issue much, I’d like to at least bring up the question. What are your thoughts on this?

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3 Comments

Filed under Religion & Ideology

3 responses to “Politics & Religion – blurred lines?

  1. Is it not better when people can remain exchanging questions, instead of imposing each other to believe in affirmations and dogma, even pious ones? Accepting insecurity instead of imposing rigid rules how to think, leading to neurotic structures .
    The word comes from the Latin: re ligo, so religion pretends to reconnect.
    It implies a disconnection.
    I suggest self acceptance instead of go betweens pretending to unite, what they divide philosophically (here we go to Plato and his soul/body division).
    This reminds me fire workers who set fire to be needed.
    The vision of the human as sinful and immature, in need of salvation through an omnipotent (mostly male) figure, has lead over the century’s to a disastrous attempt to heal this humiliation, by patronising participating to this dominance through a pretend humble subordination to the doctrine legitimising violent hybris.
    Spiritual self respect, is the opposite of this projection.
    It is the experience of unity through self acceptance.
    As I assume that humanity needs very fast human who are in touch with their natural surviving mechanism…caring for each other, we definitely have to take back in our hands responsibility for our life, instead of hoping that if we are obedient enough to hierarchical concepts, we will be saved.
    We need real trust in ourself, real democracy to make changes possible.The elites, the reign of the few, have failed to truly care out of greed for power and profit. Now it is up the middle class to wake up from her admiration for up climbing participations (religious idea of…the path!) and her lesson giving role downwards, to mature up to direct engagement and understanding that taking responsibility is possible and necessary and human are lovable as they are without having to prove their worth .
    I think, that is exactly what is happening these days. Going back to the old security promising myths is no more possible facing the atrocity they have created.
    I tried to share few ideas with you.
    Even if being older does not make one naturally wiser, I might have integrated few experiences I got over the time, in my text. I respect deeply your curiosity and search, as it reminds me, as I was myself at your age. I lost few safe answers on the way, and got more safer integrating more aspects of the world in my view. I wish you a rich inner life , I know it helps in moving times!

  2. Thank you for your words. To clarify – I myself am not religious, and I do not try to defend religious beliefs. I do not believe in any god, and I am content while not knowing what will happen when I die. Like you, I prefer what you term “self acceptance”, which I interpret as a laidback attitude towards the big questions that religion and philosophy try to tackle.
    Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me! I hope you will continue following me, as I will be paying attention to your blog.

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